Guide to Exporting and Importing

The Irish market for almost any product or service is so small that, if you want to grow a business of any significant scale, you will need to look for markets and customers outside Ireland. To do this you will have to know how to prepare export documents and apply for licenses where required. If you don’t know these things you will risk delivery and payment delays, or worse still, nonpayment.

Export Documentation Services

Cootehill Chamber is officially registered by the Department of Trade & Enterprise and Chambers Ireland to issue and certify export documentation such as Certificates of Origin (EU Certs & Arab- Irish Certs), invoices, company documents and additional documentation.

A Certificate of Origin is a document required to confirm that goods in a particular export shipment are wholly obtained, produced, manufactured or processed in a particular country (country of origin). A Certificate of Origin facilitates the movement of goods/shipments through customs.

Arab-Irish Certificates of Origin are issued jointly with the Arab-Irish Chamber of Commerce and have to be certified and in some cases legalised by the Joint Arab Irish Chamber of Commerce following certification by Cootehill Chamber.

The Cootehill provides a unique service to companies in Cavan including certifying, legalising and notarising all company and export documents.

International Commercial Terms (INCOTERMS) provide globally recognised rules for the interpretation of the most commonly used trade terms. The basic purpose of each INCOTERM is to clarify how functions, costs and risks are split between the buyer and seller in connection with the delivery of the goods, as required by the sales contract.

There is an extensive array of official documents that you need to be familiar with if your business will be exporting goods. You must also allow for the additional costs that are involved in an export shipment, whilst making sure that the sale is still competitive. Most of all, you must be fully satisfied with the credit worthiness of your overseas customer and you should minimise the payment risks by the use of secure international payments through the banking system, such as advance payment transfers, Letters of Credit or Credit Insurance.


Customs formalities have to be properly adhered to for all consignments coming into or leaving Ireland from countries outside the EU. Freight forwarders provide an efficient logistics service to their clients for getting goods to overseas markets. The freight forwarder acts as professional intermediary between the client and the carriers. They provide services such as consolidation, handling, packing, storage, picking and distribution of goods. However, they can only act as agent for the Principal Shipper, who remains fully responsible for legal requirements, proper documentation, customs clearance and duty payments, etc.

Expertise in shipping services, customs duties and border controls on import or export are the main attributes of an effective freight agent, who may also be acting for the carrier. Understanding how international conventions and agreements impact on shipping, the structure of customs tariffs and declarations are critical for correct customs duties calculations.

The Automated Entry Processing (AEP) System from the Revenue facilitates customs import and exports procedures and the clearance of import / export documents. 

Freight forwarders can ensure speedy and successful customs clearance, calculation of VAT and Customs duty and prompt payment to Customs and Excise, thus avoiding extra costs or penalties.

Further Information

Cootehill Chamber of Commerce

Revenue Comissioners - Importing & Exporting

BASIS - Importing & Exporting

Enterprise Ireland - Export Assistance Overview